What are at least three ways people today react to disasters. Do they feel as Bradstreet did in "Upon the Burning of Our House"?I had trouble understanding the poem.

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem can be difficult to read because of the language and poetry devices, such as poetic inversion (the unusual order of the words in the lines). It's a good poem, though, and still very relevant because it deals with a woman who loves her family dearly and who stands in the street one night to watch their home burn down.

Although the poem isn't separated into stanzas, it does fall into three parts of fairly equal length. The first part of the poem tells the story of the night the house burned, the second part tells how she felt in the days following every time she walked by the ruins of her home, and finally, the last part tells how she deals with her loss by remembering her faith.

Bradstreet reacts to her personal disaster by reminding herself that all things belong to God from which they come. She also reminds herself that although her earthly home burned, God has prepared a heavenly home for her "with glory richly furnished." Her faith comforts her. 

Many people today certainly do turn to their faith in God to sustain them during times of loss and disaster, just as Bradstreet did. Some, however, react to disaster differently. They may become angry and bitter, never recovering from whatever disaster they have experienced. Others react to a disaster by trying to make something good come of it. They might establish a scholarship or charitable foundation, for example, or work for a good cause. Finally, there are those who decide simply to leave the past behind, live in the present, and look to the future.